Shropshire Council’s northern planning committee said they understood the concerns of nearby residents over potential noise from the new facility on Monkmoor Trading Estate, and granted temporary permission to allow the impact to be assessed before permanent change of use could be sought.
The new gym will be open between 11am and 8.30pm on weekdays, and 11am to 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with around 20 to 30 people attending classes at a time.
A letter was read to the planning committee from Roy Cartwright on behalf of seven residents of Eskdale Road, whose gardens back on to the unit.
Mr Cartwright said: “A few years ago, in their wisdom, the planning team of the day, granted permission for a similar boxing and fitness class venture.
“This gave rise to loud music, much shouting, activities spilling outside of the unit and loiterers climbing on garden fences – all causing plenty of disturbance, nuisance and upset for the residents whose properties border Monkmoor Trading Estate.
“The residents do not wish for a repeat performance.
“Please note the close proximity of several of the residential properties to the unit just a few metres away.”
Councillor Pam Moseley, who represents Monkmoor, also spoke against the application. She said: “The rear gardens of one to 11A Eskdale Road are only a few metres from the unit where the boxing gym is proposed.
“The unit has single-glazed windows on the elevation facing the houses and the door around the corner.
“The applicant has stated the music will be played but not audible outside the building.
“I think that with up to 30 people in classes, and with the nature of the building, this will be difficult to achieve. Music in gyms is usually motivational and loud.
“There is also disturbance from people arriving and leaving.”
In response, applicant Luke Merrifield said he wanted to reassure residents that noise and anti-social behaviour outside the building would not be allowed.
“I assure you no loud music would be heard from outside,” he said.
“Doors and windows will remain closed during our sessions. All parking will be kept as far away from the housing as possible, with no parking alongside the gardens.
“We will enter and exit via the Monkmoor Road gate which is furthest away from the houses.”
The committee heard that conditions would be imposed on the planning consent to ensure no noise could be heard at the boundaries of residential properties.
Concerns were however raised over what might happen if Mr Merrifield sold his business on to someone who was less courteous to those living nearby.
Councillor Nick Bardsley said: “I’m very concerned that this is reliant very much on the goodwill of the applicant but as we all know the planning permission attaches to the land, to the premises, and it could easily be passed on to somebody who would not exercise the same degree of goodwill and respect towards neighbours.”
Council solicitor Miranda Garrard said the committee must assume conditions would be complied with by the applicant and any future occupier of the building.
She added: “With any consent the permission could be passed on and somebody could come along and choose to ignore the conditions and that becomes an enforcement matter. It’s not something you can reasonably refuse an application on.”
Councillor Nat Green proposed granting temporary permission for two years to put the gym “on probation” – after which time Mr Merrifield will have the chance to apply for permanent permission and the noise impact can be properly assessed.
Members unanimously agreed, with an added condition that windows and doors be closed while classes are taking place inside the gym.